Oral Health Clues – The Holidays are Stressing You Out
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With the holidays in full force, it’s easy to let stress get the best of us. Long to-do lists and busier-then-ever schedules keep us running this time of year, leaving very little downtime. Did you know your mouth can show signs that you’re under stress? Here are four ways that stress presents itself in your mouth – teeth grinding, dry mouth, canker sores, and gum disease. Are you experiencing any of those right now? Read on to find out.
Teeth grinding, or Bruxism, refers to excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth. Many people grind or clench their teeth during sleep, but stress may cause some people to grind their teeth during the day as well. Teeth grinding can cause greater problems such as headaches, muscular pain, loss of tooth structure, gum recession, loose teeth, damage to the bone structure of the jaw – all things that can be avoided by visiting the dentist for a mouth guard fitting.
Dry mouth is exactly what it sounds like. When your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva, it’s difficult to eat, swallow, or talk. Dry mouth occurs when your salivary glands do not produce enough saliva to consistently keep your mouth wet. Saliva is important in preventing tooth decay because it helps neutralize acids that are created by bacteria. It also helps prevent bacterial growth by naturally rinsing away food residue.
These painful sores show up as tiny, shallow lesions that form on top of the soft tissues inside our mouths or from the base of the gums. The good news is that canker sores typically heal with time. However, if the canker sore seems to be growing, visit your dentist to discuss your symptoms.
The effects of gum disease, also known as Periodontitis, are tender, swollen, and bleeding gums. Often, as our schedules get more stressful, we might look for shortcuts in our day. But don’t let the business of this hectic season prevent you from your two minutes of brushing and twice-a-day flossing routine. Gum disease is highly preventable because the cause is often a simple case of poor hygiene. Don’t let this go unchecked as it can become a risk factor for more serious issues such as heart and lung diseases.
If you’re feeling the stress of the holidays and you’re experiencing problems as a result of any of these symptoms, it might be time to visit your dentist. A quick visit might help ensure your teeth are merry and white for the holidays!